When and How Much Time Should I Spend Marketing?

I do speaking events and workshops on a regular basis and probably the most common question I get asked is about how much time a business owner should spend marketing their business.  They also ask when and how frequently should this marketing take place.

Well, despite popular belief, marketing shouldn’t be treated like an event.

I totally understand that many find it overwhelming when you think about how much there is to do and how many tools you could be working with.  And when you think about website updates, blogging, article writing and targeted campaigns, marketing can start to sound like a tremendous burden.   The trick is to think of it as a system and make certain elements part of your day to day routine and I’m going to show you how to do that.

Marketing isn't an event, it's a system.
Building a marketing system is all about getting your ducks in a row.

The most successful businesses on the planet got there not only because of an amazing product, but also because they created a streamlined, replicable and consistent system for delivering those products and services to market.  I think it’s interesting how we all know the benefit of systems and many of us actually use them in other aspects of our business already.  For example, we usually have a consistent methodology for delivering our product or service, and we usually have a routine for invoicing and paying our own bills.  Interestingly enough, we don’t employ the same philosophy when it comes to marketing our business.

You already have a number of routines in your life that you’ve made work successfully for years.  You have your morning routine that helps you get out the door every day, so we both know you can do it.  I strongly advocate for you to put that kind of routine activity into your marketing, and you’ll be surprised at the results you’ll soon start to see.

I suggest everyone create their own routine because successful marketing really comes down to regular and consistent efforts.  In terms of the amount of time you should be dedicating to marketing your business, I recommend creating a routine of 30 minutes a day and an additional 1.5 hours once or twice a week to take on some of those larger projects that will really move the business forward.

Below you’ll find a sample marketing routine that addresses the kinds of marketing activities that can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.  Breaking activities down into the level of frequency required will be helpful for you.  Again, this is a sample.  Pick and choose ideas from this sample routine to start.

Daily

  • Select those social media channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) for which you’ll deliver daily posts.  Post your update first thing in the morning and maybe a posting later in the day.  Spend no more than 10 or 15 minutes.  Take a few minutes later in the day to respond and engage to those who commented on your posts.  And if you need something to help keep you on task, use a timer.  When the time is up, you move on to the next task on your ‘to do’ list.

Weekly

  • For some social media tools, like YouTube, a weekly update is appropriate.  Again, you decide which tools you use based on where your prospects hang out.
  • Hand-written notes—Call it Follow-up Friday if it makes you more consistent (concept borrowed from Keith Ferrazzi who wrote Never Eat Alone).  Send at least 2 hand-written note cards to clients, colleagues, strategic alliances, etc.
  • Blogging –use this to answer questions that come up from your clients and prospects.  You meet with these people every single day and when they ask you questions, what you say is perfect content for your blog posts.  Blog posts can be written, audio posts or even video.  The idea is to play to your strengths.
  • Website—update content on your website, particularly anything with dates.

Monthly

  • Newsletter—sending an electronic newsletter once a month gives you an opportunity to touch your clients and prospects once a month to keep yourself top of mind.  Select a target date like the 15th of each month.
  • Run a monthly campaign where you focus on a certain product or service or a certain market.
  • Write an article to be submitted to various online article marketing sites.
  • Strategic alliances—set a goal to meet with one of your strategic alliances every month.

Quarterly

  • Speaking event—set a goal to do a speaking event once per quarter.
  • Public Relations—try to acquire at least one mention from a public relations standpoint at least once a quarter.  This could include actually be consulted as an expert or it could entail pitching an article concept to a writer or your involvement in a local charity event.

Annually

  • Client Appreciation Event—The best way to approach an event like this is work with a few strategic partners.  The idea is for each of you to invite some of your best clients as well as a few prospects.  Use this event to highlight those clients who’ve had exceptional results to entice others to want to work with you and your partners as well.

Successful systems share a number of common characteristics—they have structure, they’re defined by a number of components, and there are inputs, processing, and outputs.  Building a marketing system is all about getting all your ducks in a row. The idea here is getting them to work together so each gets benefit from the other.

And this makes perfect sense if you think about it in terms of your revenue stream.  Most businesses only realize they need to be marketing their business when the revenue stream dries up.   If you find your revenue stream has extreme peaks and valleys, it’s quite likely that your marketing efforts also do the same thing.  Marketing is really about developing that know, like, and trust factor and that doesn’t happen overnight—which gives you even more evidence to suggest marketing has to take place on a routine and regular basis for it to be successful  because it takes time and multiple touches.

Put your ducks to work.  Take care of them.  Feed them.  Observe them, and measure their results.  Give them an update from time to time so they work more and more efficiently.

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